By Louise Bauer Davoli
Sound the alarm! When you smell smoke and realize it's your hair on fire it may be time to assess whether you are experiencing workplace burnout. Competition and workplace demands have workers feeling the pressure to meet objectives.
Burnout happens when an individual experiences physical, emotional and mental exhaustion consistently over an extended period of time. Burnout is the product of steady and recurring emotional turmoil related to people at home and in the workplace. Burnout thrives in an environment with too many pressures and not enough support. People who burn out develop negative self-concepts and job attitudes, while becoming detached, apathetic, angry or hostile.
Burnout can occur and does occur in every occupation. Individuals most at risk are employees who feel underpaid, underappreciated, or criticized for things and issues beyond their control. People in the service industry are susceptible as well a service professionals who spend their work lives dealing with the needs of others, especially if their work puts them in frequent contact with the dark or tragic side of the human experience.
Symptoms of Burnout:
-Sense of Powerlessness and
Employees who are suffering from burnout feel they are responsible for everything that happens. They feel they receive little cooperation from co-workers, and they personally feel powerless to change things. These feelings tend to cultivate a sense being a victim of circumstances or a martyr. Employees become resigned and apathetic, and focus on the worst aspects of the job. Since people suffering from burnout feel helpless and hopeless, they often blame others or the situation, rather than taking responsibility for their situation, which requires action for change. Burnout happens with an individual has difficulty setting priorities, creating balance in life and is faces with a stressful home or work environment.
Sources of Workplace Burnout:
-Poor time management - Inability to meet deadlines
-Conflicts with co-workers and/or boss
-Feeling ill-equipped to do the job
-Difficulties adapting to changes
-Feeling overwhelmed by work
-Feeling that work is meaningless or boring
Preventing workplace burnout includes quitting what you are doing and do something different. That may mean changing jobs or careers or changing what you are doing in the workplace that contributes to your burnout.
-Clarify your job description
-Request a transfer
-Ask for different responsibilities
-Take time off
Ask your boss for an updated job description that clearly outlines your duties and responsibilities. If you don't have a job description – write one. Having clarity will allow you to point out the discrepancies between expectations and your job responsibilities. If you work in a setting that is large enough, ask for a transfer in order to escape a toxic department or boss. If you have been doing the same kind of work for a long time request different responsibilities or tasks in order to infuse some excitement. Lastly, take a complete break from work. Use all of your sick time or ask for a temporary leave, anything that provides you an opportunity to recharge and get clarity on your situation.